In a controversial turn of events, two members of the Tshwane Metropolitan Police Department (TMPD) who were arrested last month for their alleged involvement in a truck hijacking and possession of a suspected stolen vehicle have been granted bail and subsequently resumed their duties, raising questions about the TMPD’s internal investigation and disciplinary procedures.
The TMPD officers, whose identities have been shielded by the department, were arrested by the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) in a case that has garnered widespread attention and scrutiny.
TMPD spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba confirmed their return to work without saying the specific date, but he said it happened shortly after they were granted bail.
Mahamba stated, “The TMPD members were released on bail. The matter is still under TMPD internal investigation. An internal docket was opened and registered for further investigation. They were served with notices of intention to suspend them and given the opportunity to submit representations as to why they should not be suspended.”
The two TMPD officers were arrested in early September when they were observed in their TMPD uniforms travelling along the R21 highway in Ekurhuleni.
EMPD officers became suspicious when they spotted the officers driving a grey BMW 3 series equipped with blue police lights.
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Subsequently, EMPD officers initiated an interrogation and vehicle inspection, which revealed that the BMW had been reported stolen.
Lieutenant Colonel Kelebogile Thepa, EMPD spokesperson, explained, “The BMW was used by the TMPD officers to escort a grey truck carrying goods, driven by a third person. When the truck driver noticed the EMPD officers in an unmarked vehicle with the TMPD officers, the truck drove past and sped off. However, the truck driver abandoned the vehicle and tried to escape on foot.”
EMPD officers chased the suspect on foot until they apprehended him with the assistance of the Gauteng Department of Community Safety and SAPS helicopters.
As a result, the three suspects, including the two TMPD officers, now face charges of truck hijacking and possession of suspected stolen goods.
In response to concerns about whether TMPD officers should continue their duties while facing pending charges, Mahamba defended the decision, stating, “Yes, remember you are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law.”
This stance reflects the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” that is fundamental to the legal system.
The two TMPD officers are scheduled to appear before the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on November 1, where their cases will be further examined.
In the meantime, their return to work continues to be a subject of controversy, as many call for a transparent and thorough internal investigation to ascertain the truth of the allegations against them and ensure public trust in law enforcement agencies.